In a game of huge momentum swings, New Town ran out of time for a final comeback in last night's Class 1A girls basketball state semifinal, and so ended the high school careers of the seniors who put the Titans on the local girls basketball map.
The No. 8 Titans had been to the state tournament all three years since the team became a varsity program, but Pocomoke ended their dream of going out with a championship at UMBC's RAC Arena.
In the third quarter, the Warriors built a 10-point lead and went on to a 46-41 win to earn a meeting at 6 p.m. today with Garrett County's Southern, a 51-49 winner over Surrattsville, in the Class 1A final.
Even though the Warriors turned the ball over 35 times, the Titans were rarely able to take advantage early. They struggled with their offense all night and fell too far behind after the Warriors went on a 21-2 run to open the third quarter.
New Town (20-2) shot only 20.3 percent from the field and 5-for-16 from the free-throw line.
"We have never shot that bad," said New Town coach Pam Wright, who has been to the state tournament nine times, six with Milford Mill and three with the Titans.
"I can never remember a team coming down here shooting that bad, never, ever. I thought we played good defense, but we couldn't buy a basket. Defense produces offense, but the bottom line - you've got to put the ball in the basket."
Senior point guard Tyra Breaux revved up the Titans' defense with two blocks and two steals in the final four minutes while leading a harassing press.
The Titans managed to close within 46-39 with 1:06 left on senior guard Peju Awodipe's three-pointer. Breaux then took another shot from 20 feet a few seconds later, which could have cut the lead to four, but it rimmed out.
"We played the best defense we can, but our shots were not falling," said Breaux, who averages 12 points but hit only one three-pointer last night.
The Titans had one fine stretch of shooting in an 11-point spurt late in the first half when they got three pointers from Awodipe (game-high 18 points), India Roseborough and Janasia Harris that gave them a 23-14 lead.
While the Warriors (19-5) scored just three points in the second quarter, the Titans managed just four in the third quarter. Pocomoke, which lost to the Titans in the 2005 semifinal, went inside to open the second half and scored five straight points, the beginning of that 21-2 run that gave them a 35-25 lead with 23 seconds to go in the quarter.